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12 Disruptive Events to Prepare For This Year

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
12 Disruptive Events to Prepare For This Year

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An important rule of prepping is to identify disruptive events that could happen to you.  These events are likely to be highly individualized and based on location, domestic situation, age, income, health, and a number of other factors.

There are, however, twelve disruptive events that are universal.  These are the dire situations we should all prepare for in one way or another. The extent of how we prepare for them and the order of precedence is up to you.  Over the next twelve months, I will be writing about each of these events.  You will read about the event itself, how to prep for it, skills and strategies to embrace now, and the supplies you should have in place to survive the event if it comes knocking on your door.

12 Disruptive Events to Prepare For This Year | Backdoor Survival

Here is the list of 12 events, sorted randomly, for your consideration

12 Months or Prepping: One Disruptive Event at a Time

1. EMP

2.  Cyber Attack

3.  Wildfire

4.  Contamination of the Public Water Supply

5.  Economic Collapse

6.  Hurricane, Tornado, or Windstorm

7.  Earthquake

8.  Pandemic

9.  Nuclear Accident

10.  Civil Unrest and Riots

11.  Prolonged Drought

12.  Terrorist Attack or War

As you review this list you may be thinking “But Gaye, what about a food shortage, job loss, major health setback, or you-fill-in-the-blank event”?  That is where risk assessment comes into play.  You need to compile a list that is specific to you.

That said, the universal truth about prepping is that the best strategies are non-specific and can be applied to many short and long term events that affect your health, welfare, and comfort during daily life.

What is a Disruptive Event?

This has been asked and answered many times, but for those of you unfamiliar with the term, here is a summary from 10 Ways to Stay Calm and Prepare for a Disruptive Event and 17 Tips for Taking Charge After A Disruptive Event

Briefly, I use the term Disruptive Event as a catch-all phrase for the myriad of things that could happen to alter life as we know it.  I use it to describe any event that could potentially transform our personal lives into one of chaos, distress, confusion, or all of the above.

Interestingly enough, I have not found find many references to this term using Google so the how, where, and why I started using it most likely has to do with my own thoughts on TEOTWAWKI.

Note:  TEOTWAWKI = The End of the World as We Know It

TEOTWAWKI was a commonly used acronym in preparedness and survival circles until the end of 2012 when various predications of the end of times did not materialize.  The term is still used today, in a much broader sense.  At Backdoor Survival, for example, TEOTWAWKI refers to anything that disrupts our normal way of life.  This could be something as devastating as an EMP taking down the power grid, to a more mundane (but equally devastating) job loss or loss of a family member.

Disruptive events are common and that is why we prepare.  In 12 Months of Prepping, as I have defined it, we are preparing for short term disruptive events and in doing so, we are better prepared than 95% of our friends and neighbors.

But honestly and truly, that is just a start.  What about after that?

The trite answer is that we focus on skills and projects that foster self sufficiency without modern conveniences.  We also focus on defensive tactics and how we will defend not only our homes, but our person, and our rights under the Constitution.  More difficult is that we prepare our mental state so that we will be level-headed and calm when our world becomes a sea of chaos.

The Final Word

A few weeks back I wrote about doing it my way. Today the context is different but the theme is the same. When it comes to prepping, we will be doing it our way with knowledge, skills, and supplies to get us to the point where we are well-prepared while living life to the fullest. After all, prepping is our insurance and not our career.

“Our Way” includes this all-new extension if 12 Months of Prepping along with some fantastic new guest contributors who know a whole lot more about survival tactics than I do.  And all of that living our life to the fullest stuff?  From time to time, I will post about that over at my new Strategic-Living website so if you have not checked out my launch article, jump on over and check it out.

Finally, as we begin the new year, let me remind you that life is too short to exist only for the have-to-do list.  Wouldn’t it be better, as well as less stressful, to focus on the “want-to-do list?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Bargain Bin:  Need some ideas for your Bug Out Bag?  When I redid my own pack, I wrote about it in the article How To Build Your Own Perfect Bug Out Bag.  Here are some of the items I included as well as some current favorites that I am comfortable recommending as additions to your preps.

Portable Solar Charger:  With so many important documents and eBooks stored on electronic devices, having the ability to recharge them when the grid is down is a personal priority.  I have reviewed many over the years and with each new unit, the form factor, efficiency, and price gets better.  My current fav is the Archeer 21W Foldable Solar Panel.

Lanterns and Flashlights:  I refuse to pick a single favorite.  Or perhaps I should say I can’t.  That said, the flashlight continues to perform and the collapsible lanterns just keep on going!

Mini CREE Q5 LED Zoomable 1200 Lumens Flashlight:  I am calling this my “3 buck flashlight”.  As of this writing, this little gem is with free shipping for everyone.  It uses a single AA battery (I am using a recharged Alkaline battery). This is another one of those great deals that is difficult to pass up.

Portable Outdoor LED Camping Lantern – Collapsible:  I admit to owning a number of these collapsible lanterns. They use  30 different LEDS and are powered by AA batteries, including rechargeables.  Instead of a switch, you turn these lanterns on by extending the lantern from its collapsed condition.  There are many different brands available but I have not found much difference between them.  Shop by price.  For more, choices, click here.

The SURVIVAL MEDICINE Handbook: Third Edition:  I went back and forth considering a book on survival medicine or a book on essential oils.  Dr. Joe Alton’s book won. This is the definitive source of medical information for all Prepper’s and is my go-to bible not only for emergency medicine but for day to day ailments as well.

Kershaw OSO Sweet Pocket Knife:  A decent pocket knife made it to the list.  We use ours almost daily and I cannot imagine getting by without a knife.  This is our favorite.

pocket survival kit_4

Rothco Black Medium Transport Pack: This is my favorite pack.  I actually own 3 plus one in the large size (Rothco Large Transport Pack) that I intend to use as my specialty pack that will include clothing, a sleeping bag, and additional food items.  I don’t think you will be disappointed in your investment in one of these Rothco packs although I hope you will never have to use one for bug-out purposes.

Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets: Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets make questionable water bacteriologically suitable to drink. Easy to use and the water is ready to drink in 30 minutes. One 50 tablet bottle treats 25 quarts of water.

Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel:  This “Scout” is the one I own. Using this basic pocket fire-starter, you can get a nice fire going under almost any conditions. This is a small, compact version and is my personal favorite.

Grabber Outdoors Original Space Brand All Weather Blanket:  I was interested in a re-usable emergency blanket so I purchased one of these based upon the excellent reviews.  This space blanket is definitely “heavy duty” compared to the cheapies (not that they don’t have their place because they do).


Third Edition:  The SURVIVAL MEDICINE Handbook

A frequent question I get on Backdoor Survival has to do with healthcare matters when there is no doctor around. This is the definite source of survival medical information for all Prepper’s and is my go-to bible for survival medicine.

Survival Medicine Handbook 2016

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15 Responses to “12 Disruptive Events to Prepare For This Year”

  1. not a bad article! it was informitive in it’s own right, but i have to say though. when the fit hits the shan, kiss the constitution and your “rights” away. if the disaster causes wide enough social breakdown across the nation, it WILL be suspended, america WILL be under nation wide martial law and it WILL become a police state; who knows how long, maybe indefinitely since it’s up to the president when it gets lifted. trump doesn’t strike me as the kind to be merciful to the public when this happens.

    i have to question the choice of bags too. in a disaster, the last thing you want to be carrying is military or military type gear (ie: cammo or packs with molle webbing, etc.). that does nothing but telegraph “i’m prepared for anything” and cause you to be in the group of top targets for looters. in regards to pack size, i believe (let me stress, THIS IS MY PERSONAL OPINION) a pack should be as nondescript as possible (again, no molle webbing), no larger than 14 x 20 inches and a colour that doesn’t stand out. clothing should be as “grey man” as possible. again, i feel you should forget about carrying a rifle or open carrying a pistol, because that just tells everyone else you have good stuff in need of protecting. the more you blend in, the better. not saying that a shoddy bag, plain clothes and no exposed weaponry will keep you from being attacked, but those who carry tactical gear with guns in plain sight will be FIRST on the list.

    keep getting ready though, fortune favours those people and scoffs at the ones who do nothing.

  2. I think that maybe the word ‘prepping’ is just getting tired. I prefer to think of the many things you write about as “self reliance”. The more self reliant one becomes, the more worry recedes and external changes are dampened.

    I think the 3 things to become self reliant that have the most impact are:

    1) water
    2) food
    3) power

    Keep up the teaching…

  3. Flooding should be something we consider in our risk assessment. Many would be surprised to learn they are in a flood zone. They can be as devastating as a tornado, in an area as big as a hurricane, that becomes far more inhospitable than the aftermath of a wildfire. Consider 500 year flood events. My area has had, I think 5 or 6 in only the last 100 years. Also with aging infrastructure, reservoir dams upstream become suspect.

  4. Thank you for reminding us that living life is the most important thing; my 22-yr-old daughter (who was an avid prepper!) died of brain cancer a little over a year ago, and it really devastated my life. Treasure your loved ones, and prep for them, because you never know how long you’ll have them.

    • JeanneS …. awwwwww … I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter. Mine is almost 18 and my brain cannot process a similar event. God be with you. Can’t tell you how much I appreciate your post. While intellectually I get the “don’t forget to be PRESENT” advice, something about your post moved me to the core. I just wanted to tell you that, and express gratitude. Often I think we’re so caught up in the chaotic illusion, we forget the power we wield, our ability to touch others & change lives, with only a few minutes investment in time.
      So I not only felt it important, but absolutely CRITICAL, to let you know that your post affected ME … in a big way. And I will use it as an example to inspire others to share.
      You never know when that one sentence you take 1-3 minutes to write … could change/save another person’s life.
      Again, my sincere thanks, and blessings to you and your family as you deal with the pain & loss of losing a child. I wish you peace & healing.

  5. i’ve seen the terms TEOTWAWKI and SHTF (s–t hits the fan) so many times that, without intending to, i’ve come to think of the latter as any disruptive event, and the former as a disruptive event that permanently destroys our technological way of life. the upcoming trump presidency will definitely be a shtf event; let’s hope it doesn’t become a teotwawki event also. if his administration succeeds in getting rid of hud section 8 housing assistance, it will be for me.

  6. I like the new direction you are going. There are so many types of events that are more likely to happen that people need to prepare for and the knowledge that they can gain from this site will be useful. I think the doomsday prep scenarios are near impossible to prepare for and this leads to people quitting the prepared lifestyle so it will help to be for you to be on the forefront of explaining to them why they need to prepare for all of the other disruptive life events that can occur. I am also glad that some of the interest in doomsday prepping has declined because maybe some of the businesses that cater to us will have to lower their prices to before pre “doomsday prepper” boom started. Lastly, we will stop seeing the scare sales tactics that people were using to sell their books, seminars, new equipment etc.

  7. Talk about a mental disease. How about willingly living under the rule of a man who thinks it’s OK to sexually molest women, cheat on his multiple spouses, lie about nearly everything, has the attention span of a three year old, the vocabulary of a six year old, is a bully, cheats people out of income they earned by trusting and working for him, intends to destroy our environment for the profit of himself and his rich oil and gas buddies. I could go on and on. No Hillary was no prize but my God people, we are heading toward a constitutional crisis with a man who thinks he doesn’t have to answer to anyone, including those who voted him in. To me this spells the end of OUR world as we have always known it. Less than half of the American people may take his crap, since they voted him in, but the rest of the world doesn’t have to. We are a joke around the world. By no means will I stop prepping.

    • We should ALL thank our Forefathers and Vets that we live in a country where we can freely express our opinions. I respectably submit that I do not see how someone can live through the last 8 years and say that we are now headed to a Constitutional crisis. No disrespect meant, we all have our opinions. In regards to prepping, I recently shared that I felt I had been pretty well prepared for most challenges that could come my way. Then “Mother Nature” sent us a once in a life time (I hope) wind/thunder storm and we were without power or water for 8-10 days. I found holes in my plan. Everyone should be prepared for those type of temporary TEOTWAWKI’s. Until you live through it, you really don’t know the challenges, and imagine a long term outage like a tornado or wildfire. YIKES!

    • I couldn’t agree more. Though I see both Obama AND Trump as disruptors to what and how we have live. I’ve liken both to our country having a massive stoke or another major disabling illness. Personal disasters sure, but then we are mortal. Even to something as simple as the flu. Imagine that flu being something like the Spanish flu which hit as soldiers came home from WWI. I don’t see this as political though I can see how some choose to view it that way. I see this as people having different methods for doing or reacting. When I read libs vs conservatives, it makes me think of Lincoln saying, A house divided cannot stand.” Which means to me I want people of many different viewpoints around me because they will see dangers that I may not.
      I also listened to a scientist/economist saying he’s watching out because he is able to see a coming global recession….I’m not either of those but even I can see how possible that is.

  8. I also think this is timely. with hillary , I think it would have been “death by a thousand cuts”, watching our culture disappear slowly but with Trump, I really fear attacks from within; instigated, funded and encouraged by the left. Liberalism is definitely a mental disease as demonstrated by the recount and electoral college antics.
    As for myself, I have moved away from canned storage to freeze dried/dehydrated. I can store it better and I don’t have to worry about eating it up. I have to say though, that I’m eating peanut butter from 2014 and it’s just fine. I will continue to prep because I feel our situation is more delicate than ever now.

  9. Very timely article.

    I think your take on TEOTWAWKI is spot on. Too many people see that term and think the end of the world, but forget the “as we know it.” Any big event can change how the world works. Think of 9/11 and how that’s changed the world we live in. Or on a smaller scale, the veterans coming back from wars overseas missing limbs or with PTSD – the world as they know it has certainly changed, but not ended.

    A big part of prepping is flexibility or resiliency. Being able to roll with the punches so to speak is huge. Sure, having stuff and skills is important, but if you can’t improvise then you’ll be at a disadvantage when an event happens. It’s why I so enjoy reading these articles Gaye, thanks so much for the breadth of knowledge you share and the even keel you keep here. Level heads are best! 🙂

    • I would add two more disruptive;tive events to your list: Financial crisis and power grid failure.

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